Welcome to the 2018 JDRF One Walk Team Spotlights, a series dedicated to celebrating the most important part of JDRF One Walk – YOU!
And we’re off and Walking! The 2018 Walk Season is upon us, and we’re excited to kick things off with JDRF One Walk Northeast PA. Registration is open now, team fundraising has begun, and it all culminates with a fun-filled Walk Day event on Sunday, April 29, at Stroudsburg High School!
Our spotlight series begins with the fabulous Lorynn “Lola” Watt of Team Lola, a stellar family team with the 2018 Northeast PA Walk. Now a senior in high school, Lorynn has had type 1 diabetes (T1D) since the fourth grade. Read more below to find out what JDRF means to the Watt family, as told by Lorynn’s mother, Meg.
What is your T1D connection, and tell us about your loved one living with T1D.
I have an amazing, charismatic, smart, and beautiful teenage daughter named Lorynn – or, as we call her, Lola. Lorynn spent the first nine years of her life just as pretty much any other child, health-wise. She had the characteristic ear infections, strep throat, and even a bout of croup when she was little.
But right after she started fourth grade, we started having some problems with Lorynn at home. She was extremely moody, but we assumed that was due to her age. She suddenly hated school, which we cast off as part of adjusting to a new school. In every way, we could find a reason for her behavior.
What we didn’t expect was the diagnosis of T1D.
Lorynn went to her routine physical that October with her older sister, who was old enough to have a urine test. I told Lola to do it too (much to her chagrin), and that chance decision helped us catch what would have surely sent her to the PICU had it gone on much longer. Our doctor sent us to Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, PA, where we set about the daunting process of learning to live with a T1D diagnosis.
Lorynn’s birth father had T1D, but he had never been controlled and died less than a year later. Knowing that made everything scarier for me – but not for Lorynn. By day two she would not allow anyone else to administer her shots. She was taking it in stride – and she always has.
T1D is hard. Even with all the advancements, never eating before you stab yourself with a needle will never be easy. But Lorynn’s strength and good humor make us proud every day to be her parents, family, and friends.
Why did you decide to get involved with JDRF?
This is our fifth year doing One Walk. When Lorynn was in sixth grade, she participated in a Kids Walk at the middle school. We met another T1D family and began participating in One Walk the following year.
We walk in Lorynn’s honor because, indeed, it is an honor to know and love Lorynn.
What are your fundraising strategies?
We use social media to do most of our fundraising.
How has JDRF’s support made a difference for you and your family?
This past year, Lorynn participated in the Children’s Congress in Washington D.C. We also participated in Government Day for a few years. Because of these activities, Lorynn became more involved with advocacy. And because of JDRF, we have made many new friends and have found a T1D community.
What would you tell someone with T1D or a newly diagnosed family about JDRF?
It is a great opportunity to meet other people who are going through a similar experience. It makes T1D easier.
Stay tuned to the JDRF Eastern PA blog for more Walk Team spotlights!
Have you registered for One Walk Northeast PA yet? Visit walk.jdrf.org/northeastpa to start or join a team! For more information about the JDRF One Walk program, or to find a Walk location near you, please visit walk.jdrf.org.